looking for substance in the contra review - Skeat and Milne on pouncing

Steven Avery

This is from the pseudo-review by Bill Brown (a fella who "learned" textual criticism from Daniel Wallace) of the book by David W. Daniels.

Is the "World's Oldest Bible" a Fake?

Placed on the contra forum. And I was hoping Bill Brown had found something interesting here that we had missed.
Emphasis added:

Bill Brown on contra forum
.. Milne and Skeat touched on one of their supposed "proofs" of darkening. "There are also a number of brown stains, perhaps due to drops of oil or grease from the lamps and candles of pious readers in the past" (71). They even note the ink has run due to water spots. They further discuss the fact that it was necessary to remove the glossy surface of the animal skins so that the writing would be sustained on vellum. They point out that both medieval AND modern scribes used a variety of substances, including "powdered pumice, powdered cuttle-fish bone, sandarac, chalk, whiting, &c. or combinations of these." They go further in noting that "the harsh scouring of the pages suggests fine sand" (79) and that this treatment, known as pouncing, was actually done by the scribe in the fourth century, which explains the difference in color between those pages written by scribe A and those written by scribe D

Brown on Skeat and Milne pouncing.jpg

This was curious. First, Logic 101, a difference in scribe A and D does not equate to the British Library compared to Leipzig!

And Skeat was only working with the British Museum pages, and afawk he did not even see the Leipzig pages. So, within the British Library pages, did Skeat really say there was a difference in colour between scribe A and scribe D?

It is true that the British pages are wild, while the Leipzig pages are uniform (one contributory part of the proof of the colour tampering.) Yet, had Skeat discerned a colour pattern within the Brit pages? That would be very interesting.

The Leipzig pages are mostly scribe A, although this page is scribe D:

We go to Skeat and Milne, Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus, 1938, and we find NOTHING that matches the conclusion of Bill Brown.

Skeat and Milne poucing .jpg

To give the writing a hold on the vellum it was necessary to remove as far as possible the glossy, greasy surface common to all newly prepared skins. This was done by roughing with an abrasive the area intended for writing. Medieval-1 and modern-2 scribes have advocated a variety of substances—powdered pumice, powdered cuttle-fish bone, sandarac, chalk, whiting, &c., or combinations of these, but it is of course impossible to say what was used on the Sinaiticus; the harsh scouring of some of the pages suggests fine sand.

That the pouncing was done by the scribe himself as he went along can be inferred from the changes in its appearance, notably between the pages written by A and those written by D; scribe A rubbed the powder up and down the page, making a curious swerve in the upper margin; D worked more carefully, keeping his lines strictly perpendicular, while there are often traces of a further pouncing at right angles (i.e. horizontally). Scribe B’s practice presents no marked characteristics.

Nothing at all about a different colour in the sheets of the two scribes.

And, a bit more Logic 101, the aging and yellowing of the manuscript, the colouring, would not have been there in 350 AD, it would happen in the ensuing 1650 years. If Sinaiticus was in fact an ancient ms. :)

The colour tampering is a real problem for Sinaiticus authenticity defenders.

They come up with some really wild doozies.
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Steven Avery

the incompetent reviewer cannot even acknowledge his error about Skeat supposedly talking of different colours

Blll Brown pretended to respond to the exposure of his error, his blunder, above.

He could have simply written with integrity:

"I erred, Skeat and Milne do not talk about scribe A and scribe D having different colour parchment."

Instead he tried silly diversion. It is sooo stupid. Here is the url.

We go to Skeat and Milne, Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus, 1938, and we find NOTHING that matches the conclusion of Bill Brown.

Nothing at all about a different colour in the sheets of the two scribes.

And, a bit more Logic 101, the aging and yellowing of the manuscript, the colouring, would not have been there in 350 AD, it would happen in the ensuing 1650 years. If Sinaiticus was in fact an ancient ms. :) The colour tampering is a real problem for Sinaiticus authenticity defenders. They come up with some really wild doozies.

Then we simply get typical Bill Brown gibberish.

Rather than simply acknowledge his error, he dances all over the floor. He quoted the part in blue above, and wrote:

Bill Brown said:
Hmm.....did you also do this level of research regarding Manly Hall? FDR? Elliott? (We KNOW you haven't read the latter, it becomes more obvious with each post you make) In point of fact there's a BOTTOM LINE here - there are MULTIPLE explanations for what you think you see on a computer screen. Amazingly enough, you're now whining that they've changed the color to match in an effort to cover up the color difference. This is exactly how conspiracy minded fools argue.

Note that Bill Brown did not have the integrity to acknowledge his error.

And, if he actually thinks that Skeat and Milne do discuss the colour of the parchment, scribe A and D being different, all he has to do is give the page and quote, very simple. (How the 350 AD parchment would affect the aged 1850 colour is another stumbling block, but at least he would have a reference.) Earlier he gave quotes and pages, and they totally flopped, as shown above.

Actually, I would prefer that Bill Brown had some smarts and savvy, and no vulgarity, to try to have an intelligent conversation iron sharpeneth. The Codex Simoneidos issues are very important.

Maybe others at BVDB have competence? I am very easy to reach on Facebook Messenger, or the PureBible and Sinaiticus groups, email, Skype, Academia.edu and other spots. There are various neutral forums as well, since BVDB prevents responses to this drivel from Bill Brown on their site.

And I would prefer the discussions to be about the evidences and theories.
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Steven Avery

the scholars who looked closely at both sections are "unanimous"! hooray - who?? .. who?

The next was interesting

Bill Brown said:
Keep in mind I'm only proposing possible explanations IF the claim of different color is true. That has not yet been established

And I would say that the letters from the British Library acknowledging that Leipzig is whiter, accepting the CSP professional colour bar photography settles this 100%.

There can be theories about the reasons why the colours are markedly different, but there is no doubt that Leipzig is an off-white, while the British Library is a streaky yellow.

Bill Brown said:
and none of the lazy ... team members seems to have the kind of money necessary to go to both England and Germany.

What type of access do you think the two libraries will give to the manuscripts? One leaf, through a glass darkly? (1 Cor 13:12)

And, my visual report would be barely 1/1000 of the evidence value of what we do have. Professional colour bar photography, done under a committee dedicated to the integrity and accuracy and consistency of the process.

Bill Brown said:
But the fact those who HAVE seen both sections

Some names please. Dirk Jongkind (this is from memory) acknowledged to me that he had not seen the German section. So precisely who is being used in an appeal to authority here?

Bill Brown said:
are unanimous

Who are these "unanimous" scholars who got a good look at both mss parts? Hopefully, they were able to turn the pages as well, as in the BBC documentary.

Bill Brown said:
that Avery is wrong ought to give a person with a scintilla of intellect pause. The fact it doesn't only proves there's nothing to it.

And I will be very happy to comment more when we know who is being referenced. And what they said about the colour of the sections at the two libraries, 1844 Leipzig and 1859 British Library.

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Steven Avery

The one above is sufficient to show that this was not a real review from an individual able to think clearly about any of the Sinaiticus issues.

This next is from a related rant post form Bill Brown

The next one is interesting as well, because it gets to the heart of the Sinaiticus problem. People did not have access to the actual ms.


The side for Sinaiticus being a fake, non-authentic, works with:

1) physical evidences and anomalies
the "phenomenally good condition"
the evidence of colouring comparing

Bill Brown said:
As if I needed proof, this right here is an OUT AND OUT LIE.

Note the totally ridiculous and unscholarly pretension. Bill Brown wants to try to make a very dubious point, his idea that pictures do not represent physical evidence, as some sort of amazing truth. And thus he can accuse of a "LIE" .. blah blah. :) I tend to leave out his silly accusations, but this one starts the sentence.

Bill Brown said:
You don't work with the physical evidence, you work with photos you've seen online. Physical evidence is actually viewing the PHYSICAL manuscript in person with your own two eyes. Better head out to Europe before you ever make this claim.

This was the only interesting, and dumb, comment in a response by Bill Brown to a short new post, a bit of a WIP.

Photos represent the physical, for which there is very little access.

e.g. A paper on the physical evidences of Sinaiticus, thanks the British Library for pictures for their analysis

Transformation of Collagen into Gelatine in Historical Leather and Parchment Caused by Natural Deterioration and Moist Treatment....................61
Rene Larsen, Dorte Vestergaard Poulsen Sommer, Kathleen Mühlen Axelsson, Steen Kristian Frank
http://www.icom-cc.org/ul/cms/fck-uploaded/documents/POSTPRINTS Offenbach CBD 04_04_13.pdf

ResearchGate (limited access)

Rene Larsen,
Dorte Vestergaard Poulsen Sommer,

Kathleen Mühlen Axelsson
Steen Kristian Frank

p. 66
Acknowledgments We are very grateful to ... our colleagues at the British Library in London, UK for supply of photos in connection with the Codex Sinaiticus project ... The many years of good cooperation with these and other fine colleagues have been essential for reaching the present state of knowledge on the deterioration of cultural heritage leather and parchment.

So, should we go into a stupid rant about Rene Larsen and friends not having physical access to the manuscript?

However, one point that would conclude from Bill's analysis is sensible.

Since few people in the world actually have seen the two sections, there has been no valid "physical" basis for the palaeography claim that Sinaiticus is from the 300s.

Up to 2009, many had only seen the smoothed and tampered Tischendorf facsimile, that hid the salient physical properties. They were actually reprinted in 1963. At least at 2009 the Codex Sinaiticus Project made real accurate information available.

Nontheless, the 2011-2012 Hendrickson and British Library edition also kept the scholars in the dark, with a deceptive changing of the Leipzig colour.
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Steven Avery

Bill Brown again again uses phoney “LIE” accusations, as above. It really makes his writing worthless, even before the rants and vulgarities blunders and poor argumentation

However, if there are some contras with integrity who would lack to do a salvage operation on the nonsense, or have your own positions, welcome to the discussion, iron sharpeneth.
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Steven Avery

Bill Brown tries to make a correction

And I think Bill Brown might want to apply for a job as:

"Correction and Apology Maker" for Donald Trump.
(which means ... no real apology, and the most convoluted accusation correction possible.)

He finally, after a couple of rounds of bluster, acknowledged he was wrong on this whole issue of Skeat & Milne supposedly explaining the colour disparity.
Emphasis added.

Bill Brown said:
May 28th, 2018

Just a note here: a change has been made to the OP, not because there was anything wrong with it but mostly because I forgot that I was dealing with a forked-tongue snake who will twist just about anything, O child of the devil that he is.

I wrote the review in parts. When I was speaking of Daniels missing the Skeat and Milne addressing of the allegation of COFFEE staining (Daniels, 61 and 63), I noted that they addressed the issue of problems and Daniels never even bothered to deal with what they said. I stand by that assessment. However, I made a mistake NOT in what I was thinking but in what I wrote. I should have known that using the word "darkening" would have triggered the KJVO snowflake to feign righteous indignation. It was a case where I knew what I meant but missed it in the communication.

Fine. It's been changed.

Keep in mind that nothing at all puts any points in the condescending heretic's column at all. I'll grant the poor communication in the paragraph in question. Now - IF he is interested in honesty (and rest assured, he's the biggest liar on the Internet), let's see him now savage his old buddy David Daniels for LYING about so many things in a book Avery endorsed).

The stupidity of the list of supposed LYING is a sad joke. I rarely say that even Bill Brown lies. He actually believes his many errors, blunders falsehoods and bogus accusations. The word liar is grossly abused, especially by Bill Brown, and in ethical and scholarship and Christian circles, should be used for deliberate and directly false information given.

As for the correction of sorts -- typical Bill Brown.

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Steven Avery

And I'm always hoping to find some substance in the contra writing. However, there is nothing htere.

Here is the p. 71 reference in Skeat & Milne to grease or oil stains, that Bill would like to be equivalent to yellowing all the British pages.

p. 71.jpg

Bill tried to use this quote on CARM.
And made a mess of it back then.

Here Bill makes a reference to

"When I was speaking of Daniels missing the Skeat and Milne addressing of the allegation of COFFEE staining (Daniels, 61 and 63) ..."

this does not line up with the book, must be the earlier Kindle edition or something. And it is an anachronism to say that Skeat and Milne were addressing something they never mention.

Anyway, how would a couple of conjectured possible grease or oil lamp stains have anything to do with almost 700 pages being a yellow colour compared to the Leipzig 86?

Nothing Bill Brown writes on Sinaiticus makes any sense.
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